When the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of churches and other public gatherings two months ago, it left Newark United Methodist Church wondering if it would be able to continue feeding Newark’s homeless population.
Two months later, however, the church is crediting the generosity of its members and local businesses for ensuring that the regular lunches would continue at the Newark Empowerment Center, which is housed at the Main Street church.
“Because the Welcome Center has not been open, our volunteer receptionists, who have gotten to know and care for many of the NEC clients, have been unable to serve,” said Lysbet Murray, a representative of the church. “But they’ve found a way to let love shine through the darkness.”
The church put out a call for donations of casseroles, as well as money to buy meals from local businesses – which would not only feed people in need but also support restaurants at a time when they are struggling.
So far, the church has raised more than $3,000, which has been used to buy meals from Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen and the Brookside Country Maid at deep discounts.
Roots Natural Kitchen donates meals once a week, as does The Well in Hockessin. A number of volunteers have provided food, as well.
The meals are handed out in the church parking lot and support approximately 45 people each day.
NUMC is also one of six churches that help feed the homeless on weekends, through a project coordinated by Friendship House.
The church is still welcoming financial contributions or donations of items such as packaged cookies, chips, granola bars, fruit cups and drinks. Contact Kathy Werrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.